Monday, January 17, 2011

Passport pirouette: A whirlwind Estonian visit

Oh, Estonia. How I adore you! My favourite Baltic state and my saviour after nearly overdosing on Russia on the Trans-Siberian. I sneakily managed another quick visit to Estonia when I took my mother to Moscow and St Petersburg. We had to return to Germany and by far the cheapest way was to take the bus from St Petersburg to Tallinn and then take a budget airline flight to Berlin.

That's why on this passport page you can see me arriving yet again in the Russian border town of Narva, and this time exiting from Estonia's funky capital, Tallinn. I remember very clearly arriving at Narva, because I knew from my previous trip that the border guards would be very careful about searching the bags of Russians for anything they might be smuggling in. I suspected that as English-speaking Westerners, we wouldn't be under too much suspicion. Probably without needing to, I reminded my mother that it would be better if we only spoke English when the guards came to us (my mother could speak some Russian, and had been for the previous week or so). But my plan backfired, putting the idea of speaking Russian in her head and she answered the guard in Russian. Fortunately she must have had enough of an accent, and I quickly spoke in loud English, too, and they waved us through.

Pretty much the rest of the bus had their baggage thoroughly searched! Given that we were travelling just with daypacks and they were pretty much stuffed to the brim, I'm glad we didn't have to go through the process of repacking before we could head off into Estonia proper, on the bus through the countryside to Tallinn. Thanks friendly border guards!


  1. Well after all estonia is the safest place in the planet NO EARTHQUAKES NO TORNADOES NO TSUNAMIS NO FLOODS actualy there are floods ONLY IN A FEW PLACES I MEAN I LIVE IN ESTONIA I KNOW IT ALL YOU DONT. thanks, @Mark

    1. Hi Mark, I think you might have misunderstood my title, here "Whirlwind" just means that I was only there for a short time! It was my second visit - I love Estonia and hope to go again one day.


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